Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Commentary Defeat Belongs to Leader

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Commentary Defeat Belongs to Leader

Article excerpt

Byline: Joe Murphy Political Editor

IT IS hard to overstate Jeremy Corbyn's defeat in the Copeland by-election.

Byline Name Byline Job Title It was 1982 when a sitting government last gained a seat from the Opposition in a by-election.

But the Mitcham and Morden by-election in south London was relatively easy for the Tories: a marginal seat racked by a Labour defection to the SDP and contested in a heady post-Falklands atmosphere.

You have to go back to 1960 to find a gain where there had not been either a defection or a disqualification. And you would trawl back to 1901, to find a three per cent majority being overturned by a governing party.

It is fair to call this Mr Corbyn's defeat since, in this seat dominated by nuclear and defence industry jobs, it was the Labour leader's anti-nuke, anti-Trident views that most offended those blue-collar voters who had kept Labour MPs in for more than 80 years.

What plays for Guardian-reading north Londoners repelled these Mirror-reading Northerners, despite a solid local issue of NHS cuts. …

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